The author of The Homecoming (not reviewed) stirs up a tempest in a postWW I teapot in this pallid parlor romance. Wispy country lass Lily Polleven is devastated when she finds that her secret retreat--the humble Cornish seaside shack in which she was born illegitimately--has been invaded by a lame loner, war veteran Richard Chote. She warms to him a bit after he saves her and her beloved cousin's shell-shocked, half-wit betrothed from drowning in the storm-tossed waters of Polmena Cove. Lily joins Richard's fight to establish his ownership of the shack and its lands when she learns from her inexplicably angry, pompous brother, Michael, that their grandfather plans to sully the fair but rugged Cornish seashore with a tacky vacation development. Michael disdains his sister's rebellion because of his love for an older woman of means. Sophisticated Iris Duvane finds toying with Michael's affections good sport but views him as just a townie hayseed. Michael hopes to win her love, if he can just cover up his family's dark past and scandalous unions. To the family's embarrassment--and the hindrance of the resort plan--Richard Chote does own the land: Richard's grandfather, Lily's grandfather's cousin, gave the beach and the cliffs around it to Richard's grandmother as a present for bearing his bastard children. Not minding that they are (distant) cousins, Lily falls in love with Richard, while Michael becomes an arsonist who creates the formulaic crisis that leads to a happy ending. Scampering on the moors, ingenue in love with brooding stranger, cruel relatives, big fire--the elements of ersatz Victorian success are here, but the panache of the Brontâ sisters isn't.